Lucy 50—A Year of Discovery— Monthly Lecture Series

Lucy 50 Monthly Lecture Series

Join Institute of Human Origins researchers for a year-long “master class” in human origins research as they illuminate the many facets of how we “became human” and what that means for the future of humans on the planet. 

In-person—Auditorium (107), Walton Center for Planetary Health
                   All lectures begin at 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm

Each monthly lecture will be posted on the third and fourth Thursday of each month
Online—YouTube (—links in the names below go to the YouTube talk.

All lectures are free and open to the public.

Monthly Lecture Series Schedule

February 8 Exploration and Discovery in the Field and the Lab

Gary Schwartz 
The importance of field and laboratory research

Helen Elizabeth Davis
The responsibility and impact of engaging living communities in field research

March 14 Common Origins–Shared Future

Sarah Mathew
How contemporary human populations have adapted to the semi-arid savanna

Sarah Mathew will present two studies based on Turkana pastoralists in Kenya that highlight how our cultural capacities have shaped behavior and psychology in the context of cooperation and conflict. 

Denise Su
Savannas and Hominin Evolution

The environmental pressures that early hominins experienced in savannas have long been considered the driving force of many hominin adaptations from bipedalism to brain enlargement to tool use. Denise Su will introduce us to the environments of the earliest hominins and how (or if) they impacted our evolution.

April 11 Meet Your (Nonhuman Primate) Cousins

Ian Gilby
Understanding chimpanzees: the essential role of long-term studies

Ian Gilby will use case studies to demonstrate how long-term studies are critical for understanding the complex social relationships of one of our closest living relatives, and for providing clues about the behavior of early hominins. He will highlight the Jane Goodall Institute’s Gombe Research Archive and database, which are housed at IHO, and curated by his team.

Kevin Langergraber
The challenge of protecting chimpanzee communities 

Many of the world's primates face extinction. In this talk, Kevin Langergraber will discuss the threats to wild chimpanzees, and his work in protecting them as co-director of the Ngogo Chimpanzee Project in Kibale National Park, Uganda. 

May 2 Our Ancient DNA

Anne Stone
What does ancient DNA tells us about human adaptation?

Tom Morgan
Experimenting with human evolution

Summer break—Online only

June 28 Donald Johanson 

A connection to the natural world
(posted on Johanson's birthday)

July A Unique and Cooperative Genus

Joan Silk (posted to YouTube on July 11)
Evolution of communication and cooperation: Children and primates

Kim Hill (posted to YouTube on July 25
Origins of human uniqueness among the life forms on Earth

August A Creative and Innovative Species

Rob Boyd (posted to YouTube on August 8)
What is cumulative culture?

In-person lectures resume

Sept 12 Human Adaptability to a Changeable Planet

Chris Campisano
Climate and human evolution

Charles Perreault
Human adaptation through technology/archaeology and culture

October 10 African Rift Valley

Kaye Reed
Large collaborative science projects

Yohannes Haile-Selassie
Discoveries that changed the story of human evolution: hominins from Woranso-Mille, Hadar, and Ledi-Geraru

November 7, 2024   

Curtis Marean
The great human diaspora

Katie Ranhorn 
From stone tools to artificial intelligence: Exploring technological evolution and human uniqueness

New York City Lecture—November 14, 2024
Donald Johanson in Conversation with NYT Science Writer and Author Carl Zimmer

December 5 Lucy 50—A Year in Review

Yohannes Haile-Selassie
IHO’s exciting future